The moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here! On behalf of the California Book Club, I am thrilled to invite you into the CBC group inside Alta Journal’s Clubhouse, a free virtual gathering place for fruitful conversations about our selected books before and after CBC’s monthly gatherings.
There, you will be able to engage with other Alta community members and me, dear reader, in discussion posts, questionnaires, and polls! You will find archived articles and videos from past CBC events, along with recent posts—an excerpt, an essay, and an assessment by books editor David L. Ulin—about our upcoming selection, Rachel Kushner’s distinguished novel The Mars Room, which we will discuss on May 20. The novel follows the life of Romy Hall, a 29-year-old serving two life sentences and an additional six years at a women’s correctional facility in California’s Central Valley for murder.
Kushner is the author of three novels, including The Flamethrowers, a National Book Award finalist. The Mars Room was short-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Kushner has been awarded a prize from the Academy of Arts and Letters in addition to other fellowships, and her work has been translated into 26 languages. Her latest is The Hard Crowd, a collection of her essays from the past 20 years.
Have you started reading The Mars Room? Be sure to join the conversation in the Clubhouse here. It’s free and takes just a minute to join!
And don’t forget to sign up for the May 20 gathering with Kushner here.
WHY READ KUSHNER
Alta’s books editor, David L. Ulin, explains why you should read Kushner’s brilliant novel The Mars Room. Alta
WHY I WRITE
Want to know more about Kushner’s relationship to writing? Well, look no further. Alta
POETRY IN UNCERTAINTY
David L. Ulin considers how Amy Gerstler’s Index of Women and Kim Addonizio’s Now We’re Getting Somewhere outline the “corridors of the human heart.” Alta
California poet laureate and novelist Al Young, author of Something About the Blues, has died at the age of 81. San Francisco Chronicle
FEAR IN AMERICA
Jessica Bruder details the process of researching and writing her 2017 nonfiction book, Nomadland, which was the basis of the Academy Award–winning film by the same name. New York Times
EDITORS AND LEGENDS
Garrett Caples charts what it was like to edit the work of Michael McClure, a legend of the Beat Generation. Literary Hub
FEMINISM AND LIBERATION
In her memoir, Blow Your House Down, Gina Frangello seeks to capture the “intergenerational, interdisciplinary dialogue about women’s roles.” Chicago Review of Books
In 1936, the San Francisco heiress Ann Cooper Hewitt announced that she had filed a lawsuit against her mother for secretly sterilizing her to prevent her from having a legitimate inheritance claim. This case revealed a dark history of the medical procedure and practice. CrimeReads
LABOR OF LOVE
The work of Kaoru Takamura, a celebrated Japanese crime novelist, has just been translated into English for the first time. The process has been described as a long, complex “labor of love.” Los Angeles Times
BOOKSTORE FOR SALE
Berkeley’s beloved Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts is up for sale because its owners are retiring. East Bay Times
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